Ghalib / 26.02.2009

Readers would be well aware by now that there is always more to Ghalib than comes across at the first encounter – therein lies one aspect of his genius. In this week’s selection Ghalib addresses the issue explicitly: haiN kawakib kuchh nazar aatey haiN kuchh detey haiN dhokaa yeh baaziigar khulaa the stars/constellations are one thing and appear another These conjurers/tricksters trick/fool us openly At one level the meaning is obvious – things are not what they seem and we are being openly deceived. There are a few twists – Is Ghalib referring to the stars in the firmament or to the stars on earth and what exactly does the deception comprise of? These aspects are addressed in the companion commentary on Mehr-e-Niimroz. Here we presume that Ghalib is referring to the stars on earth and explore a tangential thought – to what extent are we complicit in our deception? This is...